How do you cook sausages?
March 2, 2004 5:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm a pretty good cook but I have no idea how to do some basic things. One of them is cook sausage. I know how to do it on a grill but with an oven? Should I pan fry it in oil? Throw it in the broiler? And for how long? I saw these sweet italian sausages at the supermarket today and figured it meant less actual cooking for me, but now I'm stumped. :(
posted by Grod to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
Italian sausages you can cook many ways, but the simplest way is:

Throw a couple of tablespoons of water in a frying pan, and fry them on medium heat- covered at first, then uncovered to brown them up. The length of time will depend on the size of the sausages, and you'll want to split one to check doneness because if you cook them too quickly, they'll look done on the outside, but still be pink and semi-raw on the inside. If you're worried about doneness, and want them to get done a little more quickly, split them in half before you put them in the pan, and use the same method.

If you'd like added flavor, you can use olive oil instead of water (only a tablespoon this time,) and slice up an onion and a green pepper in with them. You'll want to cook this on a slightly lower temperature, because olive oil burns easily, so this will take longer, but the result is very, very tasty.
posted by headspace at 5:15 PM on March 2, 2004

I generally boil them until they're nearly done and then put them under the broiler. This may not be the best method but 1) pan frying tends to result in a lot of oil spatter and doesn't guarantee they'll cook evenly and 2) the broil-only method tends to char the outside before the inside has cooked through. I'm not comfortable toying with raw pork, so I tend toward the reliable boil-and-broil.
posted by Danelope at 5:17 PM on March 2, 2004

Response by poster: HeadspaceVery good, I'm hungry just thinking about it. Thanks!
On Preview: I agree oil makes a mess, but for the last few weeks almost everything I've made has involved at least one component that splatters, be it oil, sauce, or fat. So I'm gonna make a mess. besides, we have a deal, I cook, she cleans :)
posted by Grod at 5:21 PM on March 2, 2004

Response by poster: Found this handy guide to sausage (sans cooking instructions)
posted by Grod at 5:43 PM on March 2, 2004

use a non-stick sauteuse, and lightly broil them. no oil no butter, the sausage's fat will quickly melt and cook the rest of the sausage
posted by matteo at 5:56 PM on March 2, 2004

I tend to brown them on both sides, throw in some tomato sauce, onions, and lots of garlic, and then cover it and simmer it for awhile. That way, they cook evenly and the sauce cooks down to paste-like consistency, which is perfect!
posted by answergrape at 7:17 PM on March 2, 2004

From personal experience (last week) if you get distracted by a phone call make sure that you really turn off the burner and not, for instance, overshoot and set it to high. After the phone call the olive oil I put in my pan instantly combusted. It was nifty but I think I will avoid repeating it.

Anyway, my favourite way to cook them is just in the pan with a dollop of olive oil (that's what I was doing that night). I cook it slow so that most of the fat runs out (not a problem then since I was using buffalo sausage) and it gets done all the way through. At the same time I fry some onions and peppers (not just green, they're boring for me and I like spicy food) with a few cloves or a bulb of minced garlic.

I've given up on non-stick pans myself. I bought a cast iron pan and find it remarkably easy to take care of. As an added bonus when you narrowly avoid accidently setting fire to your kitchen you can just season the cast iron pan again. The non-stick pan goes in the trash.
posted by substrate at 8:15 PM on March 2, 2004

Boil 'em. In a marinade. Then grill 'em slightly in a pan with olive oil. Then, at least, you know the insides are cooked.
posted by notsnot at 8:24 PM on March 2, 2004

substrate, that reminds me of an episode of How to Boil Water, during the early days of the Food Network, where the professional chef/mentor watched in bemused horror as the comedian/amateur chef singed his eyebrows with an overheated pan and a splash of olive oil. At least you weren't on national television when it happened (in re-runs, as well.)
posted by Danelope at 8:37 PM on March 2, 2004

I broiled my beer brats yesterday. I let the broiler get to heat, and then did about 5-7 minutes on a side. 14 minutes later, voila!

Sometimes I cook them by frying them a little, and then slicing them in half lengthwise and finishing the job.
posted by taumeson at 8:39 PM on March 2, 2004

One word of caution for the "fry them whole in a pan" method. Turn them with tongs, not a fork. Piercing the skin can cause a gusher of hot oil to come flying out and burn you or at the very least make a hella mess. Same goes for grilling.
posted by jopreacher at 9:33 PM on March 2, 2004

My friend, maybe one day your's also.
posted by the fire you left me at 10:03 PM on March 2, 2004

The simplest way to cook them is to bake them. I put mine in a pan/glass pie plate and put them in a 350 degree oven. After 25 minutes I turn them over, after another 25 minutes they are done. Probably not as tasty as some of the methods mentioned here, but it is easy and you aren't adding any oil.
posted by orange swan at 6:39 AM on March 3, 2004

I use the same method headspace outlined. It creates just enough steam to cook them through, yet still has just enough heat in the pan to sear the casings.

To avoid the "gusher or hot grease" scenario mentioned by jopreacher, prick them with a fork before cooking, so that the grease will release gradually.
posted by briank at 6:44 AM on March 3, 2004

Many years ago, someone I was sharing a house with incinerated some sausages under the grill and filled the house with smoke. Upon inspection, he'd just place them under the grill, turned the grill on high, and walked away. He claimed that the instructions on the packet hadn't told him (a) to watch them, nor (b) to turn them over.
posted by carter at 7:17 AM on March 3, 2004

Brown in a fry pan you can cover.
Add white wine to the pan
toss in sliced mushrooms and a bit of minced garlic and onion.
cover and simmer 'till done.

OR (make gravy)

Brown in a fry pan.
Add to a big pot of crushed tomatoes with assorted other meats and seasoning.
Simmer 'till done (3-4 hours)
posted by Goofyy at 10:11 AM on March 3, 2004

After cooking in a pan you'll have a brown mess of burnt fats, add some wine to de-glaze and reduce and pour over some other part of your meal as a sauce.
posted by stbalbach at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2004

Response by poster: the fire you left me: I know epicurious well, it was that site and the realization that a man can only eat so much pizza in his life that got me cooking in the first place. I threw this question out to the group because I was not asking for a recipe but for some basic information on the best way to cook an italian sausage. Within eight minutes of posting the question I had an excellent answer and since then I've been given many great suggestions most of which I will try at some point as this thread is now in my bookmarks. You just don't get that on epicurious. Nor will epicurious give you funny and informative tales of sausage preparation gone horribly wrong.

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!
AskMe: Sausage preparation gone horribly wrong
posted by Grod at 2:34 PM on March 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

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